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Die Walküre was the first of the Ring operas to be recorded complete by EMI in 1954 with Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting [PACO100]. But Wagner enthusiasts could piece together a very nearly complete recorded version of the opera nearly a decade earlier by combining Act 1 and parts of Act 2 recorded in Vienna in 1935 with Bruno Walter, the rest of Act 2 (with some small cuts) recorded in Berlin in 1938 with Bruno Seidler-Winkler, and this version of Act 3 conducted by Artur Rodziński. Sizeable chunks of Act 3 had been recorded as part of the ‘Potted Ring’ in 1927 [PACO107] but this was the first time that the complete Act 3 had been recorded without the usual cuts.
Rodziński gathered an exceptionally experienced cast drawn from the roster of the Metropolitan Opera. Helen Traubel (1899-1972) dominated the heaviest Wagnerian soprano roles at the Met for more than a decade between 1941 and 1953. The St. Louis-born soprano had a bright voice with a core of steel that soared effortlessly over the largest Wagnerian orchestra and all but 14 of her 176 Met performances were as Isolde, Elsa, Elisabeth, or one of the three Brünnhildes. She was heard many times by the radio audience in each of those roles, most frequently as Isolde (on 10 broadcasts) and as Brünnhilde in Die Walküre (on 7 broadcasts). Traubel made many commercial recordings, including some lengthy extracts from all the Wagnerian roles she was famous for, but this complete recording of Act 3 of Die Walküre is by far the most substantial item in her discography.
German baritone Herbert Janssen (1892-1965) sings Wotan. Janssen made his Met debut in 1939 after a distinguished and varied career in Europe. The Met generally cast him in lighter Wagnerian roles such as Kurwenal, Gunther and Wolfram but with occasional forays into heavier roles including Hans Sachs and Wotan. His performance as Wotan is vocally forceful, yet with a touching pathos and dignity as one might expect from someone with such vast experience.
Austrian soprano Irene Jessner (1901-1994) sings Sieglinde. Her roles at the Met included Hänsel, Donna Elvira, Euridice and the Marschallin, and while she appeared in Die Walküre no less than 74 times (including 11 broadcasts) it was always as Ortlinde never as Sieglinde. She doubles up on this recording, singing her usual Valkyrie as well as Sieglinde, and is joined by a cadre of sisters who performed their roles on a regular basis at the Met.
Rodziński’s conducting provides a constant impetus to the music. In fact this is one of the fastest versions of act 3 on record, some ten minutes quicker than many others. The New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra provide excellent support.
WAGNER Die Walküre - Act 3
1. Wulkurenritt - The Ride of the Valkyries (6:57)
2. Schütz mich und helft in höchster Not! (3:09)
3. Nicht sehre dich Sorge um mich (5:00)
4. Steh, Brünnhild'! (0:40)
5. Wo ist Brünnhild', wo die Verbrecherin! (3:37)
6. Hier bin ich, Vater: gebiete die Strafe! (8:24)
7. War es so schmählich, was ich verbrach (4:12)
8. Nicht weise bin ich, doch wusst' ich das Eine (4:31)
9. So tatest du, was so gern zu tun ich begehrt (2:22)
10. Deinen leichten Sinn lass dich denn leiten (3:45)
11. Du zeugtest ein edles Geschlecht (5:06)
12. Leb wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind! (4:02)
13. Der Augen leuchtendes Paar (5:45)
14. Loge, hör! Lausche hieher! (4:22)
Helen Traubel (soprano) - Brünnhilde
Herbert Janssen (baritone) - Wotan
Irene Jessner (soprano) - Sieglinde
Valkyries: Doris Doe, Anna Kaskas, Jeanne Palmer, Maxine Stellman, Hertha Glaz, Martha Lipton, Doris Doree, Irene Jessner
Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York
conducted by Artur Rodziński
XR remastering by Andrew Rose
Cover artwork based on a photograph of Artur Rodziński
Recorded 27 February & 15, 18, 22 May 1945, Carnegie Hall, New York
Produced by Goddard Lieberson & Charles O'Connell
Total duration: 61:52